View all text of Subchapter II [§ 321 - § 337]

§ 333.
Responsibility for rail transportation unification and coordination projects
(a) The Secretary of Transportation may develop and make available to interested persons any plans, proposals, and recommendations for mergers, consolidations, reorganizations, and other unification or coordination projects for rail transportation (including arrangements for joint use of tracks and other facilities and acquisition or sale of assets) that the Secretary believes will result in a rail system that is more efficient and consistent with the public interest.
(b) To achieve a more efficient, economical, and viable rail system in the private sector, the Secretary, when requested by a rail carrier and under this section, may assist in planning, negotiating, and carrying out a unification or coordination of operations and facilities of at least 2 rail carriers.
The Secretary may conduct studies to determine the potential cost savings and possible improvements in the quality of rail transportation that are likely to result from unification or coordination of at least 2 rail carriers, through—
(A) elimination of duplicating or overlapping operations and facilities;
(B) reducing switching operations;
(C) using the shortest or more efficient and economical routes;
(D) exchanging trackage rights;
(E) combining trackage and terminal or other facilities;
(F) upgrading tracks and other facilities used by at least 2 rail carriers;
(G) reducing administrative and other expenses; and
(H) other measures likely to reduce costs and improve rail transportation.
(2) When the Secretary requests information for a study under this section, a rail carrier shall provide the information requested. In carrying out this section, the Secretary may designate an officer or employee to get from a rail carrier information on the kind, quality, origin, destination, consignor, consignee, and routing of property. This information may be obtained without the consent of the consignor or consignee notwithstanding section 11904 of this title. When appropriate, the designated officer or employee has the powers described in section 203(c) of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 to carry out this section, but a subpena must be issued under the signature of the Secretary.
When requested by a rail carrier, the Secretary may hold conferences on and mediate disputes resulting from a proposed unification or coordination project. The Secretary may invite to a conference—
(A) officers and directors of an affected rail carrier;
(B) representatives of rail carrier employees who may be affected;
(C) representatives of the Surface Transportation Board;
(D) State and local government officials, shippers, and consumer representatives; and
(E) representatives of the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General.
(2) A person attending or represented at a conference on a proposed unification or coordination project is not liable under the antitrust laws of the United States for any discussion at the conference and for any agreements reached at the conference, that are entered into with the approval of the Secretary to achieve or determine a plan of action to carry out the unification or coordination project.
(e) When the approval of a proposal submitted by a rail carrier for a merger or other action is subject to the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board under section 11323(a) of this title, the Secretary may study the proposal to decide whether it satisfies section 11324(b) of this title. When the proposal is the subject of an application and proceeding before the Board, the Secretary may appear in any proceeding related to the application.
(Pub. L. 97–449, § 1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2429; Pub. L. 104–88, title III, § 308(b), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 946; Pub. L. 112–141, div. C, title II, § 32932(a)(3), (4), July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 829.)